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Toward energy-efficient physical vapor deposition: Routes for replacing substrate heating during magnetron sputter deposition by employing metal ion irradiation
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Thin Film Physics. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Thin Film Physics. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
SECO Tools AB, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Thin Film Physics. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2837-3656
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2021 (English)In: Surface & Coatings Technology, ISSN 0257-8972, E-ISSN 1879-3347, Vol. 415, article id 127120Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In view of the increasing demand for achieving sustainable development, the quest for lowering energy consumption during thin film growth by magnetron sputtering becomes of particular importance. In addition, there is a demand for low-temperature growth of dense, hard coatings for protecting temperature-sensitive substrates. Here, we explore a method, in which thermally-driven adatom mobility, necessary to obtain high-quality fully-dense films, is replaced with that supplied by effective low-energy recoil creation resulting from high-mass metal ion irradiation of the growing film surface. This approach allows the growth of dense and hard films with no external heating at substrate temperatures T-s not exceeding 130 degrees C in a hybrid high-power impulse and de magnetron co-sputtering (HiPIMS/DCMS) setup involving a high mass (m > 180 amu) HiPIMS target and metal- ion-synchronized bias pulses. We specifically investigate the effect of the metal ion mass on the extent of densification, phase content, nanostructure, and mechanical properties of metastable cubic Ti0.50Al0.50N based thin films, which present outstanding challenges for phase stability control. Ti0.50Al0.50N based thin films are irradiated by group VIB transition metal (TM) target ions generated by Me-HiPIMS discharge, in which Me = Cr (m(Cr)= 52.0 amu), Mo (m(Mo) = 96.0 amu), and W (m(W) = 183.8 amu). Three series of (Ti1-yAly)(1-x)MexN films are grown with x = Me/(Me+Al+Ti) varied intentionally by adjusting the DCMS powers, while y = Al/(Al+Ti) also varies as a result of Me+ ion irradiation. Results reveal a strong dependence of film properties on the mass of the HiPIMS-generated metal ions. All layers deposited with Cr+ irradiation exhibit porous nanostructure, high ox- ygen content, and poor mechanical properties. In contrast, (Ti1-yAly)(1-x)WxN films are fully-dense even with the lowest W concentration, x = 0.09, show no evidence of hexagonal AlN precipitation, and exhibit state-of the-art mechanical properties typical of Ti0.50Al0.50N grown at 500 degrees C. The process energy consumption is lowered by 64% with no negative impact on the coating quality. TRIM simulations provide an insight into the densification mechanisms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier Science SA , 2021. Vol. 415, article id 127120
Keywords [en]
Thin films; TiAlN; Magnetron sputtering; HiPIMS; Low-temperature growth
National Category
Manufacturing, Surface and Joining Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-176146DOI: 10.1016/j.surfcoat.2021.127120ISI: 000655570000006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-176146DiVA, id: diva2:1562102
Note

Funding Agencies|Swedish Energy AgencySwedish Energy Agency [51201-1]; Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation Scholar Grant [KAW2016.0358]; Competence Center Functional Nanoscale Materials (FunMat-II) VINNOVA grantVinnova [201605156]; Swedish Research Council VR Grant [2018-03957]; VINNOVA grantVinnova [2019-04882]; Carl Tryggers Stiftelse for Vetenskaplig Forskning [CTS 17:166, CTS 15:219, CTS 14:431]; Swedish Research Council VR-RFISwedish Research Council [2017-00646_9]; Swedish Foundation for Strategic ResearchSwedish Foundation for Strategic Research [RIF14-0053]

Available from: 2021-06-08 Created: 2021-06-08 Last updated: 2023-05-24
In thesis
1. Toward Energy-efficient Physical Vapor Deposition: Routes for Replacing Substrate Heating during Magnetron Sputtering by Employing Metal Ion Irradiation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Toward Energy-efficient Physical Vapor Deposition: Routes for Replacing Substrate Heating during Magnetron Sputtering by Employing Metal Ion Irradiation
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this Thesis, magnetron sputtering is perfected as an environmental-friendly deposition technique. I performed systematic studies of a novel approach - hybrid high-power impulse and dc magnetron co-sputtering (HiPIMS/DCMS) with metal-ion-synchronized substrate bias pulses. The technique relies on the use of high-mass metal ion irradiation from the HiPIMS source to densify material deposited by the primary metal targets that operate in the DCMS mode. Thermally-driven adatom mobility, conventionally used to obtain high-quality layers, is replaced by low-energy recoils that are effectively created upon heavy metal ion bombardment of the growing film surface. As a result, the need for external heating is effectively eliminated and the useful growth temperature can be as low as 130 °C.   

Ti-Al-N is chosen as a model materials system for the studies in this thesis due to its relevance for industrial applications and well-known challenges for phase stability control. The role of the metal ion mass on densification, phase content, nanostructure, and mechanical properties of metastable cubic Ti0.50Al0.50N-based thin films is investigated. Three series of (Ti1-yAly)1-xMexN (Me = Cr, Mo, W) films are grown with x varied intentionally by adjusting the DCMS power. There is a strong dependence of film properties on the mass of the HiPIMS-generated metal ions. All layers deposited with Cr+ irradiation exhibit porous nanostructure, high oxygen content, and poor mechanical properties. In contrast, (Ti1-yAly)1-xWxN films are fully-dense even with the lowest W concentration, x = 0.09.  

A strong coupling is found between W+ incident energy Ew+ and minimum W concentration x required to grow dense (Ti1-yAly)1-xWxN layers. With lower x, higher Ew+ is needed to obtain dense films. (Ti1-yAly)1-xWxN film growth is also studied as a function of the relative Al content on the metal lattice, y = Al / (Al + Ti), covering the entire range up to the achievable solubility limit of y ~ 0.67. High-Al content films that are desired in industrial applications (as the high temperature oxidation resistance increases with increasing y) are demonstrated, while precipitation of the softer hexagonal AlN phase is avoided. It is shown that the W+ irradiation from HiPIMS source can be used to grow high-Al content layers with high hardness and low residual stress, while avoiding wurtzite AlN precipitation.  

The critical parameter that controls the growth is shown to be the average momentum transfer per deposited metal adatom. W+ ion irradiation is shown to have a determining role in the densification of TiAlWN films grown by hybrid W-HiPIMS/TiAl-DCMS co-sputtering. Films with the same composition were grown as a function of the number of W+ ions per deposited metal atom, η = W+/ (W + Al + Ti). The latter was varied in a wide range by altering the peak target current density on the W target, as confirmed by time-resolved ion mass spectrometry analyses performed at the substrate plane. I demonstrate that the degree of porosity and the nanoindentation hardness are strong functions of η.   

Finally, high-temperature properties of TiAlWN films grown by hybrid W-HiPIMS/TiAl-DCMS co-sputtering with no external substrate heating is explored, as motivated by application requirements, where the temperature of cutting inserts during machining exceeds 900 °C. A new age hardening mechanism was discovered with Guinier-Preston (GP) zone formation in a ceramic material. Layers with low Al content maintain high hardness well above the annealing temperature characteristic of spinodal decomposition. The evidence from electron microscopy, ab initio calculations, and molecular dynamics simulations, shows that the GP effect originates from the formation of atomic-plane-thick W discs populating {111} planes of the cubic matrix. The results demonstrate for the model materials system of TiAlN that the process energy consumption can be reduced by as much as 64% with respect to conventional methods, with no compromise on coating quality. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2023. p. 40
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 2328
Keywords
PVD, Magnetron sputtering, Thin films, HiPIMS, TiAlN, Energy efficiency
National Category
Materials Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-194088 (URN)10.3384/9789180752428 (DOI)9789180752411 (ISBN)9789180752428 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-09-01, Planck, F-building, Campus Valla, Linköping, 09:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Funding: The research was primarily financed by the Swedish Research Council (VR) Grant 2018-03957 and the Swedish Energy Agency Grant 51201-1. Additional support was also received from a Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation Scholar Grant (Hultman: KAW2016.0358), the Competence Center Functional Nanoscale Materials (FunMat-II) VINNOVA grant 2016-05156,  the VINNOVA grant 2019-04882, the Carl Tryggers Stiftelse contracts CTS 17:166, CTS 15:219 and CTS 14:431.The work supported by the Swedish research council VR-RFI (2017-00646_9) for the accelerator-based ion-technological center and from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (Per Persson: RIF14-0053) for the Tandem accelerator laboratory in Uppsala University is also acknowledged.

Updates:2023-05-24 The thesis was first published online. 2023-05-29 The cover was changed in the published version to match the printed version. Before this date the PDF has been downloaded 38 times.

Available from: 2023-05-24 Created: 2023-05-24 Last updated: 2023-08-01Bibliographically approved

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